Rabbitte to sign ‘green energy’ MoU with UK’s energy secretary tomorrow

23 Jan 2013

The Irish and British governments are set to pave the way for the development of renewable energy trading between the two countries, as Ireland’s Energy Minister Pat Rabbitte, TD, will be signing a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with the UK’s energy and climate change secretary Edward Davey in Dublin tomorrow.

The aim of the MoU will be to help both countries commit to working closely to secure economic benefits by trading renewable energy.

Another goal of the inter-governmental agreement is to allow exports of wind-generated electricity from the Republic of Ireland to Britain.

Rabbitte has been in talks with the British government for some time on signing such an MoU.

Last June, Rabbitte met with the former UK energy minister Charles Hendry in London to discuss the development of renewable energy trading between the two countries. At the time, the two ministers were aiming to finalise the MoU by the end of 2012.

However, in September Hendry was replaced as UK energy minister by John Hayes, who is opposed to wind-farm technologies.

Despite this, the MoU talks have since been taking place between Rabbitte and the UK’s energy and climate change secretary Edward Davey.

At the opening of Ireland’s first electricity link with Britain – the East-West Interconnector – in September, Davey spoke about how the interconnector will improve energy security for both the British and Irish economies.

“It will improve competition – bearing down on the price ultimately paid by consumers – and it will allow more of Ireland’s abundant wind energy access to the massive UK customer base,” he said at the time.

The undersea link project, which started in July 2010, involved the laying down of underground and undersea cables running for 260km.

As for tomorrow’s MoU signing in Dublin, it is taking place during the British Irish Chamber of Commerce annual conference.

Element Power is one renewable energy group that’s aiming to export up to 3GW of electricity to the UK by 2018.

Via its Greenwire wind-energy project, Element Power is aiming to set up 40 different clusters of wind farms across the counties of Kildare, Laois, Meath, Offaly and Westmeath.

Last July, National Grid UK, the operator of the UK electricity network, awarded a grid connection to Element Power for the Greenwire project.

Wind-farm image via Shutterstock

Carmel Doyle was a long-time reporter with Silicon Republic